So. Now it’s January. Just January. Been back at work for a few days. I’m feeling sort of chilly, but otherwise unremarkable. Maybe I have some Christmas cookies in my freezer, maybe not. Blah. January.
The same part of me that loved getting new school supplies every September (and even buying new textbooks in college and law school, except for the hefty price tag) likes the clean slate of a new year. Everything is white and blank and open to possibility. But still, it’s not exactly Christmas, is it?
If you had a really good Christmas or Solstice or whatever, going back to regular life is a letdown. If you had a terrible holiday, it kind of feels like you should get a do-over. There’s nothing you can do about that now, so let’s start our post-holiday watchlist.
Here are my requirements for post-holiday blah-busting viewing:
- It shouldn’t be about the holidays, at least not primarily. If you simply had a wonderful Christmastime you’ll miss it, and if you had the Worst Kwanzaa In The World you’ll just dwell on it.
- Something set in winter is good, but something that is at least not summer-specific is fine. Some people like escaping to warmer weather and longer days via TV and movies, but I’m more into celebrating the season that I’m in.
- You know those dark independent comedies that are KIND of funny, like you chuckle under your breath a bit, but mostly they leave you feeling sort of bleak? Not now. Not this binge watch. Not on our blog.
Why: It’s one of the funniest shows that not enough people (apparently) watched, and is so light and sweet that you could consume large quantities of it in a single sitting, like FroYo. AND it is finally streaming on Hulu, for those of you who didn’t buy all of the seasons on DVD.
Why: It’s straight-up TV comfort food, and it’s also been so long that a lot of us have watched certain episodes that it’s like rereading old letters. For some reason I’m particularly thinking of seasons 3-8 or so, not sure why. Again, Netflix is going to facilitate this one.
WingsWhy: I don’t know. I got it in my head a few days ago that I’d like to rewatch Wings, so I guess I just want SOMEONE to do it. But really: workplace comedy, occasional romantic intrigue, it’s set in Nantucket so things never get particularly tropical.
Why: If you haven’t seen Fawlty Towers yet, you should – so why not now? And if you have seen it before, I think it would hold up to a rewatch. I know it’s set on the “English Riviera” but the hotel setting makes it feel kind of cosy.
Master of None
Why: We already told you that it’s a show you should be watching if you aren’t already, and we meant it. When I was wrapping Christmas presents this year I literally texted Traci and asked whether I should watch Master of None or Making a Murderer (I didn’t want anything Christmas-y, so I was basically looking for something that would fit on this list). Anyway, Master of None made the cut and two days later I had finished the whole series. Master of None is remarkably true to life for a certain kind of older millennial (read: us), and it paints a kind and optimistic portrait of people you’re sure to recognize.
Why: In the 90s, this passed for a solid and possibly innovative comedy. In 2016, the concept reminds me of one of those Hallmark Christmas movies. Except not even about Christmas. About Groundhog Day. And yet it’s still fun and cute and it taps into the 2016 zeitgeist with Bill Murray and “normcore.”
The Mighty Ducks
Why: The Mighty Ducks is the rare children’s winter movie that isn’t about Christmas, it will remind you of your 90s childhood, it’s a surprisingly well-done family comedy/drama, and you can watch baby Pacey Witter and realize that in 5 years you’re going to have a crush on him and feel weird about it.
Chronicles of NarniaWhy: When Winter is presented as a mystical dreamland, you remember how really beautiful it is. Lots of gorgeous snowy imagery, cute British tots, and some religious allegory if you’re into that. I mentally still refer to this as “the Chronic -what? – cles of Narnia,” so thank you, Samberg and Parnell.
March Of The Penguins
Why: Warm-weather nature gets all the glory, but arctic life is pretty awesome too. If you haven’t seen this yet you may think it sounds dumb, but it isn’t, it’s life-affirming and fascinating and there’s a chance that I cried when I saw it.
Why: Okay, there’s a lot of Jamaica, but it’s warm-weather action leading up to cold weather action. Besides, you loved this movie, once upon a time. May as well give it another shot.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Why: Like Fawlty Towers, the enclosed hotel setting feels comfy and wintery, and it has a story you can really fall into for a few hours. Plus the very Wes Anderson sugarplum and macaron color palette feels seasonal, in a good way.
The Peanuts Movie
Why: If you’re watching movies with kids, and you don’t want to watch a Christmas movie and you’ve seen Frozen a million times … but you still want to keep it wintery …. this adorable but not ground-breaking movie is not a bad way to spend 90s minutes.
Obvious ChildWhy: It’s a funny and sweet film and Jenny Slate is the kind of leading lady I want in my rom-coms. But also, this one is set during that point in the winter where you sort of give in and wear Brillo-textured sweaters everywhere and can’t sleep because your radiator is always either at 0 or 1,000. By the way, Jake Lacy is going to be a big thing in 2016 and you can totally see why.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Why: There’s some minor holiday season shenanigans, but it’s mostly a winter (/season-neutral) romantic comedy. I haven’t seen Bridget Jones’s Diary since I was 15, so I completely forgot that it’s a reinterpretation of Pride and Prejudice (… I know), but I have the same ambivalent feeling toward Colin Firth’s character as I do toward Fitzwilliam Darcy, so now I probably need to rewatch it and write a post about that.